The Origin of Student Debt

With the vociferous debate over President Joe Biden’s announcement that the federal government will cancel a portion of outstanding student debt, it’s important to understand how Americans came to owe the current cumulative total of more than $1.6 trillion for higher education.

In 1970, Ronald Reagan was running for reelection as governor of California. He had first won in 1966 with confrontational rhetoric toward the University of California public college system and executed confrontational policies when in office. In May 1970, Reagan had shut down all 28 UC and Cal State campuses in the midst of student protests against the Vietnam War and the U.S. bombing of Cambodia. On October 29, less than a week before the election, his education adviser Roger A. Freeman spoke at a press conference to defend him.

Freeman’s remarks were reported the next day in the San Francisco Chronicle under the headline “Professor Sees Peril in Education.” According to the Chronicle article, Freeman

— source | Jon Schwarz | Aug 25 2022

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Indian Boarding Schools Were Part of “Horrific Genocidal Process” Carried Out by the U.S.

A new report by the Interior Department has documented the deaths of 500 Indigenous children at Indian boarding schools run or supported by the federal government in the United States, but the actual death toll is believed to be far higher. The report also located 53 burial sites at former schools, which were run for over a century. The report marks the first time the Department of Interior has documented some of the horrific history at the schools, known for their brutal assimilation practices forcing students to change their clothing, language and culture.

And as you could hear in the voices of the people, Secretary Haaland, this is a very emotional experience for a lot of Indigenous people in this country. And it should be an emotional experience for non-Indigenous people in this country. This is quite a historic moment in time. Although it’s not new news to Indigenous people, it might be new news to those who are hearing this horrific genocidal process that has taken place.

I think, you know, there’s a reason why the forcibly transferring of children from one group to another group is an international legal definition of genocide. That’s what we’re talking about, because taking children, or the process of Indian child removal, has been one strategy for terrorizing Native families for centuries, from the mass removal of Native children from their communities into boarding schools, as this new report lays out, from their communities into their widespread adoption and fostering out to mostly white

— source | May 13, 2022

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After Over 4 Decades of Failure, Time to Ban This High-Stakes Standardized Testing Regime

Standardized tests were supposed to be the magic remedy to fix our public schools.

They were supposed to make all students proficient in reading and math.

They were supposed to ensure all students were getting the proper resources.

They were supposed to ensure all teachers were doing their best for their students.

But after more than four decades, standardized tests have not fulfilled a single one of these promises.

In fact, all they’ve done is make things worse at public schools while creating a lucrative market for testing companies and school privatization concerns.

— source | Steven Singer | Apr 9, 2022

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The war on public education

Today’s capitalist public school curriculum called “Common Core,” coupled with impossible-to-pass examinations, is facing growing opposition all over the United States.

The president of a parents’ group on Long Island called Common Core and high-stakes testing “child abuse.” Some 30,000 children, with their parents’ permission, opted out of Common Core examinations in New York state at the beginning of April.

In Brooklyn, N.Y., teachers, parents and students filled a schoolyard to protest Common Core tests administered by the school. In one Connecticut high school, only 47 of 530 high school juniors sat for the Common Core English examination.

In every state, opposition to Common Core is growing.

War on public education began with Reagan

— source | Heather Cottin | Apr 12, 2014

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16 Elite Universities Colluded to Limit Financial Aid

Sixteen elite universities were sued in federal court late Sunday over an alleged price-fixing scheme in which plaintiffs say the schools formed a “cartel” to limit the amount of financial aid they would each offer to low- and middle-income prospective students—breaking antitrust laws.

Five students who previously attended some of the universities filed the federal lawsuit in Illinois, arguing that in defiance of legislation passed in the 1990s, at least some of the schools take families’ financial needs into account when making admissions decisions. The schools in question are part of a group called the “568 Presidents Group,” which was formed after Ivy League schools were charged with price-fixing in 1991 and is supposed to admit students on a “need-blind” basis.

After the schools were accused of colluding with their competitors to set a formula for determining how much financial aid was needed by families—driving up college costs for all

— source | Julia Conley | Jan 10, 2022

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Fossil Fuel Lobbyists Push Climate Denialism to Kids in U.S. Schools

fossil fuel industry is shaping childrens’ education in the United States. The Texas State Board of Education is set to vote on whether or not new science standards for middle schoolers should include climate change. The language they choose will ultimately dictate how textbooks nationwide address the issue. The Board already watered down the standards after fierce lobbying by fossil fuel companies, despite urging from climate scientists that school curriculums should reflect how human activity, such as the release of greenhouse gases, has affected the climate. We speak with investigative reporter Katie Worth, who visited schools across the United States and found corporate and political interests are blocking the truth about the climate crisis from being taught in classrooms. Her new book is “Miseducation: How Climate Change Is Taught in America.” “There’s a long history of the fossil fuel industry trying to get their messages to children, because that shapes how future generations will think about their industry and how they will regulate their industry,” says Worth.

They’re going to be including some information about climate change, both about natural climate change and human-caused climate change. But again the language has sort of been attenuated by board members who are very sympathetic to the fossil fuel industry, which as we know is very powerful here in Texas. For example, there was an effort to include the word “can” from the phrase “Describe how human activities can influence climate.” Some of the board members were saying, “Let’s just say ‘human activities influence climate’” because that is now an understood truth. But the other board members really

— source | 19 Nov 2021

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Emergency Report on School Education

The Covid-19 pandemic and its consequent lockdowns have caused schools in India to be closed for the last year and a half – notes Locked Out: Emergency Report on School Education. Published on September 6, 2021, the report discusses the disastrous effects of prolonged school closures on the education of students from poor households. It presents the findings of the School Children’s Online and Offline Learning (SCHOOL) survey.

The survey was conducted in August 2021 by a team of nearly 100 volunteers led by development economists Reetika Khera and Jean Drèze, along with Ranchi-based researchers Nirali Bakhla and Vipul Paikra. It covers 1,362 households with at least one child enrolled at the primary or upper primary level (Classes 1-8). The survey was carried out in 15 states: Assam, Bihar, Chandigarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

Around 60 per cent of households resided in rural and 74 per cent in urban areas. Close to 60 per cent belonged to Dalit or Adivasi communities. And 84 per cent of children from rural households were enrolled in government schools.

— source | Nirali Bakhla, Jean Drèze, Vipul Paikra and Reetika Khera

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Over 173,000 children infected and 22 killed by COVID-19 in the US last week

On Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released its weekly report on COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths among children across the US. The results are once again horrific, with 173,469 children testing positive for COVID-19 and 22 dying from the virus last week. In total, some 5.9 million children have tested positive for COVID-19 and 520 have died in the US since the start of the pandemic. Since schools began reopening throughout the US in late July, more than 1,772,578 children have officially tested positive and 171 have died from COVID-19, as the highly transmissible Delta variant has spread rapidly in poorly-ventilated, overcrowded classrooms across the country.

Across the US and internationally, opposition is building among parents, educators and students to the homicidal school reopening policies that have infected millions of children and killed thousands worldwide. This was sharply expressed in the October 1 global school strike, with the central hashtag #SchoolStrike2021 trending for hours that day and used over 26,000 times in the week leading up to and including the strike.

— source | 5 Oct 2021

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